Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #250

Feb. 12 – Feb. 18, 2017

Welcome to week two hundred and fifty of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. The King of Fat Guy Touchdowns: How Pitt OL Brian O’Neill became a scoring threat to complement his blocking skills
  2. How WNBA Star Tamika Catchings Doesn’t Let Her Disability Hold Her Back
  3. Superstar Athletes ‘Stand Up’ To Speak About Their Experiences With Online Bullying
  4. All 30 NBA Logos Reimagined (Black History Month)
  5. How A New Style Of Surfing Relieves Anxiety In Young People
  6. An Israeli Desert City Blooms as a Soccer Power
  7. Charity remains big part of golf tournaments
  8. North Korea urged to join ‘peace’ Olympics in South
  9. Danny Duffy’s K’s for Noah: Strikeout Childhood Cancer
  10. Salt Lake Screaming Eagles prepare to test their fan-run franchise model in debut game

Basketbal Blitz Captivates Kiribati (Beyond Sport)
Up2Us Sports Turns Seven
Stand Up: Jabari Parker (The Players’ Tribune)
#WePlayTogether Promotes Sport & Peace (Beyond Sport)
Leading by example: How are sports governing bodies flexing their social conscience? (Sport and Dev)


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The King of Fat Guy Touchdowns: How Pitt OL Brian O’Neill became a scoring threat to complement his blocking skills
While there’s no denying O’Neill scoring can provide a big lift to the team, he sees those plays a small part of his responsibilities as an offensive lineman. “That’s just one play for this entire year that I’m going to run,” O’Neill said about his first touchdown. “If I was thinking about that play all week I wouldn’t have been able to do the rest of my job well.” O’Neill may be one of the most athletic lineman out there, but he’s also one of the best blockers. He entered last week’s game against Miami with only one hurry allowed in 208 dropbacks, good for the second-highest pass blocking efficiency in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus. When you’re a 300-pound lineman who is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball, you’re bound to start receiving some attention. But Narduzzi doesn’t want the strides O’Neill has made as a blocker in just his second year at the position to go unnoticed, either. “Forget what he does carrying the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield,” Narduzzi said at his Nov. 2 media teleconference. “He’s done a great job blocking people, too.”

How WNBA Star Tamika Catchings Doesn’t Let Her Disability Hold Her Back
Basketball great Tamika Catchings remembers being teased as a kid. Born with a hearing impairment, her classmates made fun of the hearing aids and speech difficulties. But Catchings soon realized her classmates couldn’t make fun of her if she was kicking their butts at sports. “That’s how sports first came into my life,” the four-time Olympic gold medalist writes in an essay for ESPN. “In the classroom kids could make fun of me for being different. On the soccer field (my first sport) and eventually the basketball court, they couldn’t. I outworked them, plain and simple. Eventually, I was better than them.”  Through sports, Catchings realized her hearing impairment didn’t have to hold her back. Much to the horror of her parents, Catchings once threw her hearing aid onto a soccer field. Doling out a little tough love, her parents refused to get her a new one. “That decision helped spark a work ethic that has shaped me into the person and player I am today,” she writes. Catchings had to do extra work in classes and during practices to avoid falling behind because of her hearing.

Simon Hofmann/Getty Images For Laureus

Superstar Athletes ‘Stand Up’ To Speak About Their Experiences With Online Bullying
A group of star athletes speak out against bullying in a new video produced by The Players’ Tribune, the sports site founded by Derek Jeter. In the video, Jeter is joined by Von Miller, Michael Phelps, Danica Patrick and Karl-Anthony Towns to discuss the abuse they endure online. After reading aloud samples of the online hate lobbed their way, the group speaks to how they cope with the constant stream of negativity from people they’ve never met. It’s a strong message—mainly, that no one deserves this treatment regardless of circumstances. Phelps discusses how he sought help amid the negativity. The campaign’s name, “Stand Up,” encourages those who seek help to stand up to get it, those who are bullied to stand up for themselves, and those who witness bullying to stand up for others.

All 30 NBA Logos Reimagined (Black History Month)
Now, Brantley is teaming up with B/R to redesign logos for every NBA team in honor of Black History Month. Brantley, who was born in the Chicago neighborhood Bronzeville, looked to the history of every NBA city to find inspiration for each re-imagination. “Everything that happens historically doesn’t necessarily translate within one small design,” Brantley says. “History is long and long-winded sometimes, so it’s hard to pick apart a moment and make it clear from an aesthetics standpoint, but I looked at pivotal moments and certain individuals that can be represented with these teams and logos and become sort of the rebranded version of this team.” Beyond the cities’ obvious historical references, Brantley turned again toward history for aesthetic inspiration, looking at old Negro Leagues logos in addition to refashioned logos over the years, stretching from high school to the pros.

How A New Style Of Surfing Relieves Anxiety In Young People
A 2015 study from the National Center for Health Statistics suggests 1 in 45 American children fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, up from the official government estimate of 1 in 68. The rising diagnosis numbers, coupled with the healing power of water, helps to explain the explosive popularity of Surfer’s Healing. In its humble beginnings in the late ’80s, the camp began as a one-off event with 30 kids. Today, the group runs 25 day camps across the United States, Australia, and Mexico. Each camp enrolls a maximum of 200 participants. The camps book up instantly. “We often need to add multiple days due to demand,” Paskowitz says. The benefits of activities like Surfer’s Healing and other surfing camps like the Autism Society of San Diego’s surf camp, expand well beyond helping the children. “We found these surfers take to the children and vice versa. Our volunteers spend time away from their families and make no money,” Paskowitz says. “But it doesn’t ever seem to matter to them.”

An Israeli Desert City Blooms as a Soccer Power
The roots run deep in Beersheba, a biblical city that many believe is older than Jerusalem. The club was formed in 1949, one year after Israel declared independence. Much of its history had been cloaked in failure, aside from back-to-back league championships in 1975 and 1976, at a time when the game was amateur and the players, Ellenbogen said, “worked in construction and smoked.” But last year Hapoel Beer Sheva (there are a variety of ways to render the Hebrew names of the city and the club in English) enjoyed a season that was, in its own way, every bit as unlikely as Leicester City’s Premier League title in England. After 40 years in the wilderness, and without the resources of its rivals, Hapoel Beer Sheva overcame all of its challengers to win the Israeli title on the final day of the season. That success brought another prize: a spot in the Champions League qualification rounds. “A lot of people didn’t realize what the team just did until the last whistle,” said Aner Haim, a reporter for the local newspaper, Yediot HaNegev. “People here cried like little babies. It was crazy, crazy, crazy.”

Beer Sheva fans at the match with Ashkelon on Saturday. Credit Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Charity remains big part of golf tournaments
Characteristics of golf tournaments always include competition, camaraderie and championships, and a fourth “C” – charity – belongs in the equation. And leaders of the women’s city tournament have chosen the Big Red Barn Retreat to benefit from their 2017 event. Indeed, most golf tournaments earmark proceeds to assist those in need, and Golf 20/20, a collaboration of leading organizations that represent all segments of the golf industry, announced last week the details of the game’s $3.9 billion charitable impact at events staged at 12,700 facilities in 2016. The report’s information reminded how golf can give back to communities. In addition to one-day events that benefit a specific cause, the Columbia area men’s and women’s tournaments do the same. Proceeds from the men’s championship, sponsored by the Midlands Chevy Dealers, go to Fairway Outreach, an organization that provides life lessons and opens the window of opportunity to disadvantaged local youngsters.

North Korea urged to join ‘peace’ Olympics in South
South Korea’s Winter Olympics head organiser has appealed to the nuclear-armed North, which remains technically at war with his country and boycotted the 1988 Seoul Games, to join in a “peace” Olympics next year. Lee Hee-Beom is president and CEO of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG), which will take place in a province that saw fierce battles during the 1950-1953 Korean War. The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, but Lee urged the North to send its athletes to the Games, which open a year from Thursday. The “spirit” of the Olympics was peace, he said, citing the traditional suspension of wars in Greece where the Games originated in 776 BC. “The basic principles of Olympics is peace,” he told AFP at the POCOG offices in Pyeongchang. “Anyone who loves peace should participate, have the right to participate. There is no exception. North Korea is not the exception.” The Olympics have been the scene of moments of reconciliation between the bitter foes — the teams entered the opening ceremonies for several Games in the 2000s marching under a unified flag, and when two gymnasts from North and South posed together for a selfie at Rio 2016 it was praised as embodying the Olympic spirit.

Danny Duffy’s K’s for Noah: Strikeout Childhood Cancer
Noah Wilson was a true hero. He touched my heart, as he did all of Royals nation. Noah was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, but never let it change his passion to help others. He endured tests, procedures, surgeries, chemo and radiation treatments, and so much more. Despite all of this, he wanted to help other kids like him and turned his pain into a way to bring smiles to others….and created Noah’s Bandage Project. In honor of Noah, I’m dedicating my 2017 season to Noah’s Bandage Project (NBP), donating $500 for every strikeout I have. NBP will use this money to help fund targeted pediatric cancer research, bringing hope to kids fighting cancer. I’m asking you to help me in honoring Noah’s memory and amazing life by joining me in the pledge. You can pledge as little or as much as you can. Every bit helps. Let’s strikeout childhood cancer together!

Salt Lake Screaming Eagles prepare to test their fan-run franchise model in debut game
The Screaming Eagles’ fans voted to select the team’s coach, William McCarthy, and had their say on which players would compose the team’s 25-man roster. On Thursday night, fans in the Maverik Center and around the world who download the Screaming Eagles’ innovative mobile app will call all the team’s offensive plays in real time. It will be up to the fans to decide when the Screaming Eagles will onside kick, go for it on fourth down and try for two points after touchdowns. “This is an excellent opportunity for fans to become part of the game,” McCarthy said. “You always hear fans, ‘Why did they call that play?’ or, ‘They should have called XYZ.’ This is the fans’ opportunity to either prove that it’s easier than coaches make it sound, or realize there is more to the process then meets the eye. It’s going to be a historic event and one that could reshape the sporting landscape.” “I’m excited football fans will finally have a chance to prove themselves on the field of play,” said FANchise CEO and Screaming Eagles owner Sohrob Fahrudi. “Fantasy football, Madden, and yelling at the TV or from the stands are as close as fans have ever been. Thursday night that changes. Fans who participate will have a little part of sports history all to themselves.”

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